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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies of the 1990s
This is going to sound strange, but "Ravenous" is a very intelligent movie about cannibals, vampirism (of an unusual sort) and the history of the west. At it's heart is a metaphor about power, exploitation, and ravenous greed. It is much more than simply a thriller, horror, slasher picture.
It is set during the time of westward expansion in the youthful...
Published on April 6, 2003 by ewomack

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a great movie that deserves better treatment..A terrible transfer.
After waiting years for a proper anamorphic release of this hidden gem, I was excited to pre-order the blu-ray. Boy am i disappointed by this barely adequate, dull, flat transfer that looks as though it was captured from a projection on a living room wall. But, all is not lost, some credit should be given to Shout Factory for porting over the extras from the DVD. This is...
Published 4 months ago by Rui Goncalves


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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies of the 1990s, April 6, 2003
This review is from: Ravenous (DVD)
This is going to sound strange, but "Ravenous" is a very intelligent movie about cannibals, vampirism (of an unusual sort) and the history of the west. At it's heart is a metaphor about power, exploitation, and ravenous greed. It is much more than simply a thriller, horror, slasher picture.
It is set during the time of westward expansion in the youthful United States, which is significant for discovering what the movie is all about. This movie wouldn't make sense in 20th century Manhattan, or in 1930s Chicago. It is set during a time when european settlers still had a long way to go towards 'conquering' most of North America.
Without giving too much away of the bizarre and twisted plot, the movie explores not only cannibalism, but cannibalism as a means of regaining life, energy, or power. You eat another, you take the life energy of that person. This notion of cannabalism (which is more along the lines of mythology than of a slasher movie) allows the movie to be completely unpredictable, disturbing and poignant all at once. At the end of the movie, one realizes that it would've been almost impossible to have guessed what was going to happen at each plot turn. If you enjoy bizarre, almost surreal surprises, this movie is packed with them.
The crucial moment in the film is towards the end when Robert Carlyle's character is rhapsodizing about "manifest destiny." Here it is revealed that what's behind the ravenous hunger depicted in the film is a statement about how the west was won, and perhaps still being won. There's a lot in this film to chew on (it's impossible to avoid stupid puns when writing about movies in which people are eaten, sorry), and "Ravenous" does not belong in the same category as B-slashers or gore or shock flicks.
In fact, it's almost impossible to determine what category to put "Ravenous" in. People who avoid gore movies will probably also want to avoid this one (it can be pretty disgusting), and people who enjoy gore and slash will probably feel disappointed because there's simply more going on than random and senseless killing. It's no surprise that this movie bombed, and it will probably gain cult status and continue to confuse most viewers, but for that reason it will probably be around for a while.
The performances are great all around, but Robert Carlyle really, really shines. The story is so original it nearly defies categorization, and the opening sequence is one of the best I've ever seen. The music is meant to be off-kilter and dissonant, which adds to the film's offbeat tempo.
Overall a great movie, but one that may confuse viewers. It's not a comedy (though it is funny), it's not a slasher/thriller (though it is gorey and thrilling), and it's not a western (though it is set in the right era). The best thing to do is see it and find out. You may hate it, or you may never be able to stop thinking about it. There are not many movies like this out there.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Delicious!!!, September 4, 2001
By 
"vincentarlock" (Lakeland, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Underrated, this is a hardcore, dark, macabre masterpiece. Guy Pearce (Captain John Boyd) is a soldier, who, though decorated, is actually a coward. After faking death in a battle against Mexicans, he is tossed among the dead in the enemy's encampment. He crawls out from a beneath a pile of oozing bodies and successfully takes the base from the enemy. His commander knows he isn't a real soldier and so, as he is disgusted by the sight of him but for politics sake can't reprimand him, the captain is sent to an isolated military outpost called Fort Spencer. Living there is a skeleton crew assisted by several indians and everything goes fine until a near dead man(Robert Carlyle) staggers into camp during the middle of a very cold winter. After being warmed up and fed, he tells a grisly tale of desperate cannibalism as he and the party he was traveling with got punished by the elements and were forced into a cave. A select small band soldiers and one indian set out to assist the remaining people in the cave, who by chance might just still be alive and so the movie truly begins. Nothing is quite what it seems as the twists and turns reveal the terrifying realities of the plot which eventually climax in a very satisfying and unexpected ending. The acting is excellent all around but especially with Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle. The weak nature and mental struggles of Guy Pearce are incredibly believable and completely balance the innocent appearance yet sinister nature of Robert Carlyle. The cinematography creates a creepy, desolate atmosphere as the ingenious soundtrack(as good or better than that of Suspiria) by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman truly fits ever scene and action, allowing for a true horror experience to be felt. With moments of twisted humor tastefully spread throughout, this is the total horror package and definitely not a movie to be rented...it should be purchased.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Horror Movie Never Seen, October 9, 2006
By 
takethekman (Oakland, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ravenous (DVD)
Bloody, funny, smart, artistic, and wonderfully acted. Robert Carlyle heads a flawless cast in a film that is so surprisingly good it puts most horror movies to shame. This is something so unique it has to be seen to be believed. There is depth here among the gallons of blood; Every character is constructed nicely, and each has their moment; The locations and snow add a nice visual layer, and the cinematography captures the drab, depressing, grim overtones nicely. Hard to beat that whole cave scene, not to mention two(yes, two...) genuine, shocking surprises in this one. But this movie is about going all out with it's premise; It's crazy and outlandish, but it runs with it...all the way. But it's also refreshing. How many countless crappy serial killer/japanese ghost kids/70's horror remakes do we have to sit through before we get something like 'Ravenous'? Way too many. I'm surprised this movie even got made. But thank God it did.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Person's Movie about Cannibalism, May 17, 2000
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story really gets started at a fort in the Sierra Nevada's when a near dead stranger arrives at the fort and tells a tale that sounds very similar to the real story of the Donner party. But then things get much weirder! Don't eat that stew! This movie draws in religious references to Christianity, American Manifest Destiny, and Native American folklore, to create an intellectually and mythologically stimulating brew for the culturally receptive mind.
The humor takes the edge off the horror, and the horror takes the edge off of the humor, in a brilliant balance that leaves this movie defying categorization. It remains far too serious to be called dark comedy, but it still has its fair share of humor. Some of the more intense moments in the movie gain an erie and otherworldly tone when juxtaposed against some of the maniacally joyful music that accompanies those moments. The acting proves brilliant! And the dynamics between Robert Carlyle and Guy Pierce, hit a compelling range, from curious interest, to hatred and disgust, and even reaching the depths of thinly veiled homoerotic situational innuendo. The rest of the acting was great, but this amazing duo truly left the most memorable impression.
I think the unfavorable reviews offered by some of the "professional critics" more reflects their inability to handle this topic at all, than any shortcomings of the movie itself. If you think you may be a little sensitive about the topic of cannibalism, you have been warned. I really don't think that any of the gruesomeness was gratuitous, and certainly the movie could have been a LOT more gory than it was. You simply can't pretend to discuss cannibalism without gruesomeness. To do otherwise would have been a Pollyanna whitewash job. If you have ever thought about becoming vegetarian, especially for aesthetic and moral reasons, this film just might push you over the edge! Unless you have an unusually "gothic" family or relationship, this isn't your typical date movie or family entertainment.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, unique, gothic horror film, July 26, 1999
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Ravenous is a stunningly effective and original movie that received an undeserved backlash from the movie industry, movie-goers and movie reviewers alike when it hit the screens on March 19, 1999. Why? Because, I think, this film is truly meant for only a small number of fans that have an appreciation for the bizarre, the macabre, and off-beat actors who turned what was intended to be a Hollywood/horror flick into something far more sinister, far more engrossing, and totally subsversive. For those of us with an appreciation for this type of accomplishment--like me!---Ravenous is by far the best picture I have seen since 1997's LA ConfidentIal. It's a story based in the 1840's during the Mexican American War about an American Army Captain who gets sent into the Sierra Nevadas to a place called Fort Spencer. From there, the story twists and turns into a grisly tale of cannibalism and horrific adventure. LA Confidential's Guy Pearce is quietly handsome and vulnerable as Captain John Boyd, and his powerful reticence is electrifying, especially in contrast to Robert Carlyle's rogueish bad-guy cannibal. The scenery is stupendous, the acting top-notch, the story along the lines of Interview with a Vampire-meets the Old West Alfred Packer/Donner Party. Totally unique, totally cool! But it had alot of blood in it, so for those squeamish people out there--be warned. But horro/gothic fans will love this!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Sneaky!!, September 12, 2002
By 
Death Kitten (WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ravenous (DVD)
Someday this movie will find its audience.
A film this good cannot remain hidden forever. Although I personally want Ravenous to remain in it's obscurity. I know it can't.
I want to selfishly be the one recommending this movie to others.
I went to this film hoping above hope that it would be just good enough so I wouldn't have to walk out on it.
I spent the next ninety-minutes with a big stupid grin on my face. Ravenous rocked! And continues to rock every time I break it out of the DvD cabinet for another spin.
The soundtrack is the film's real star. Like no other I have heard before or since it will always be a close personal favorite.
The story itself has many, many turns. (And not in a Witless-Hollywood-Wild Things-way either.)
Things change. Characters develop. And people get eaten.
I so do love this movie.
(I should mention that I am neither a gore movie fanatic, nor an admirer of the "B" movie genre.)
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Person's Movie about Cannibalism, May 20, 2000
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story gets started at a fort in the Sierra Nevada's when a near dead stranger arrives at the fort and tells a tale that sounds very similar to the real story of the Donner party. But then things get much weirder! Don't eat that stew! This movie draws in religious references to Christianity, American Manifest Destiny, and Native American folklore, to create an intellectually and mythologically stimulating brew for the culturally receptive mind.
The humor takes the edge off the horror, and the horror takes the edge off of the humor, in a brilliant balance that leaves this movie defying categorization. It remains far too serious call it dark comedy, but it still has its fair share of humor. Some of the more intense moments in the movie gain an erie and otherworldly tone when juxtaposed against some of the maniacally joyful music that accompanies those moments. The acting proves brilliant! And the dynamics between Robert Carlyle and Guy Pierce, hit a compelling range, from curious interest, to hatred and disgust, and even reaching the depths of thinly veiled homoerotic situational innuendo. The rest of the acting was great, but this amazing duo truly left the most memorable impression.
I think the unfavorable reviews offered by some of the "professional critics" more reflects their inability to handle this topic at all, than any shortcomings of the movie itself. If you think you may be a little sensitive about the topic of cannibalism, you have been warned. I really don't think that any of the gruesomeness was gratuitous, and certainly the movie could have been a LOT more gory than it was. You simply can't pretend to discuss cannibalism without gruesomeness. To do otherwise would have been a Pollyanna whitewash job. If you have ever thought about becoming vegetarian, especially for aesthetic and moral reasons, this film just might push you over the edge! Unless you have an unusually "gothic" family or relationship, this isn't your typical date movie or family entertainment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Movie, July 26, 2001
By 
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] (VHS Tape)
An odd, yet yet ingenious idea. Cannibalism in the California mountains during the 1840s. Great performances by all especially Guy Pearce. Being a big fan of LA Confidential this one was a far different character. Cursed by his cowardness during the war with Mexico he's constantly having flashbacks early on to the brutal battles and how he survived(you'll like that one). Soon he decides he had better escape but runs into the American counterattack on the Mexican base. He takes advantage of the situation by capturing the Mexican commanders. Instead of haning him for cowardness he's given a medal and treated like a hero. But his company commander knows the truth and wants him as far away from him and his men as possible. He sends him to a fort in the California mountains run by a skeleton crew. Soon a stranger is found passed out outside their fort. But he isn't what he seems.

Ravenous has a peculiar combination of black humor and one of the best musical scores for a movie I have ever seen. Don't get me wrong the music isn't the best for any movie but it just fits into the movie so well its amazing. An eerie western mix that was brilliantly put together. The black humor might push some away, but for me it made it much more fun to watch.

Ravenous no doubt deserves to have better track record than it does. One of the most interesting tales I've yet to come across in a movie. When someone has the words odd, peculiar, and eerie all in the same review you know it isn't an ordinary movie and this is by no means an ordinary movie.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm-good! What a tasty thriller!, March 21, 2002
This review is from: Ravenous (DVD)
Ravenous is not at all what the theatrical and video trailers make it out to be. It is simply one of the strangest and most bizarre movies released by a major studio this year. Part horror, part sci-fi, part allegory, and part thriller, it is best described as a visual interpretation of an eerie story you would hear sitting by a campfire in the middle of the woods. It is those visuals which make it unsuitable to viewers with weak stomachs, because the violence is very graphic indeed.
The date is about 1850. Captain John Boyd [Guy Pearce] has been deeply traumatized by a particularly bloody battle during the Mexican-American War. His commanding officer, appalled by Boyd's apparent lack of courage, assigns him to a small and unimportant fort in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. He finds that the small group of soldiers there are outcasts. One bitterly cold night, a nearly dead stranger is found in the snow. They revive him and ask him how he came to be lost in the wilderness. His name is Colquhoun, and, as played by the brilliant Scottish actor Robert Carlisle, he is one of the weirdest creatures the movie's have invented lately. He says that he was traveling west with a small group of pioneers. The journey took longer than expected, and they became trapped by the mountains' harsh winter weather. Although they found refuge in a cave, their supplies were inadequate for such a long delay. Finally, they killed the horses and ate them. Then one member of the group died. Afterwards, Colquhoun claims he went out foraging. When he returned, he found the group cooking the deceased. After hearing this grisly story, the fort's commander decides that a search party must go out to look for survivors.
Tales of people resorting to cannibalism in such desperate situations are not new, but Colquhoun's story is only the start of this chilling movie. Things get much worse as the story takes its surprising twists and turns. No one is safe. I am rarely frightened by a movie, but this one gave me a definite case of the creeps.
Much of the success of Ravenous is due to Robert Carlisle. Without him, it might have been nothing more than mere sensationalism. Carlisle often plays appealing, lovable characters. Here he gives us a portrait of a psychotic and creates a character that you will not soon forget. His Colquhoun is somewhat like Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, although each actor's interpretation was uniquely his own.
The photography captures the vastness and majesty of the American West. The set built for the fort seems very authentic. The music adds to the mystic tone of the movie. First rate character actors fill out the cast.
While Ravenous is one of the best thrillers of the year, it is not, shall we say, to everyone's taste.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly tasty treat!, January 6, 2000
This review is from: Ravenous (DVD)
What really makes this movie special is its originality - there are so few movies (horror ones especially) that take place in the early days of American colonial history. It's a bit surprising, as it's a setting that's full of wild and mysterious opportunities for storytelling.
But there's more than just the unique setting. We have the concept of cannibalism paired with a bit of soul vampirism, an Indian legend that appears to be true, breathtaking scenery (shot in middle Europe, I believe) and some extremely tense scenes. The acting is way above average, at least for Robert Carlyle and Jeffrey Jones. Carlyle is especially haunting as the catalyst of the story, going from near-death to a ragged bundle of nervous energy to a calm and collected and impeccably attired officer.
The DVD is very well stuffed with extras - several commentaries, deleted scenes with commentary, trailers, a nice section on set and costume design, and an excellent transfer that helps us see that beautiful scenery I mentioned.
This is not the sort of movie you'd purchase without seeing first, though - so I'd recommend a rental. You may find it's not to your liking, or you may end up like I did - buying your own copy.
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Ravenous [Blu-ray]
Ravenous [Blu-ray] by Antonia Bird (Blu-ray - 2014)
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